21 Feb Slim Aarons: The High Life
Slim Aarons focused on, “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” This eminent mid-century photographer and portraitist captured and defined quintessential moments of wealth, class, beauty, fashion, and design that have become timeless models of what it looks like to live “the high life”.
While most of his subjects were celebrities, royalty, political figures, or prominent businessmen, Slim had a unique ability to encapsulate their most authentic and at-ease selves. His photos of these people in their natural element have inspired entire fashion lines, architectural trends, and interior design. Most notably, Slim’s “Polo Player” is a clear influence for Ralph Lauren’s Polo line— from the boots and attire to the dog and hatchback car, this image undoubtedly prompted a fashion empire.
One of Slim’s most iconic photos, “Poolside Gossip”, is the epitome of mid-century style and architecture. Shot at the famous Kauffman House in Palm Springs, CA, every detail is a symbol of glamor and modernism that continues to inspire interior, fashion, and furniture designers and architects alike. Even the umbrella in the background is exactly reproduced today by Santa Barbara Umbrellas. We were inspired by the clean lines and angles, and can’t help but envision these Giulio Moscatelli armchairs, Italian leather armchairs, and/or Modernist suede sofa in the living room.
Slim did not use makeup or hair stylists, a lighting crew, or any other assistance for his photos— just his eye and his camera. Many of the people he photographed have commented they didn’t even know when he was taking the picture, they just went about their business and he was able to capture the perfect moment of beauty, honesty, and life. An ideal example of this is a wide-eyed Jackie Kennedy finishing dinner at the April in Paris Ball in 1959. Fun fact: Slim had to crop out John Kennedy, whose arm can be seen in the bottom left corner, because he was blinking.
Slim Aarons’ timeless work continues to breathe life into the picturesque (no pun intended) world of the mid-century elite— providing a limitless source of creative inspiration for all forms of art.